In my short tenure as Director of Family Camp I have learned a few things. Some of them were expected - the whos, the whats, the wheres and the whys. That is the learning curve of any new job. But in my second and third year, it was not the details that came out about family camp, it was the atmosphere that makes it so special. It is not the trees, but the forest.
For many DECADES, yes decades not years, Family Camp was known as Family Conference and had a who’s who of speakers from around the Episcopal Church. Presiding Bishop Elect Michael Curry is even among those that have shared their wisdom and love of God during our times together. The Family Conference started at Shrine Mont in 1952, and it has gone through many changes and transitions, but at its core it is still about coming with your family to increase your love of God and love of each other. Could anything be better?
Every year we gather from all over the Diocese, and some from further afield, to pray, worship, sing, grow, learn, and have fun. It is Camp after all. You have to have the fun. What makes it wonderful is that we have fun while we pray, worship, sing, grow and learn. The unique thing about Family Camp is that it is not age-specific. The other camps are separated by age, but we are multi-generational. The kids see the adults enjoying the same things and celebrating together, and vice versa. Even more important, during this week we form a village where we look after and support one another.
This week, my daughter had a low moment, and someone reached out, processed the moment, and gave her space to talk and come to a better place. It would have been different if I had done it. Your dad has to love you, right? But that an adult took her seriously and lovingly listened, she felt empowered, and I felt encouraged. Of all the many things I have learned along the way, this is the most important. I need Family Camp.
I think we all need a Family Camp in our life. I have a space where I can care and be cared for. I need a time when I can let go of the stuff I carry in my day to day life, and relax, rejuvenate, and just be. I need a place apart, but I also need a space to be together. Shrine Mont is the place apart, but Family Camp is the space to be together. Thank you, God, for Family Camp.
By the Rev. Rock Higgins
Spreading the good news of Shrine Mont Camps into the Valley of the World.
The View from the Mountain is written by a rotating cast of staff writers and contributors.